What was your favourite class in school?
Ours was lunchtime.
Okay okay…technically not a class. But, there’s no denying that lunchtime was something we all looked forward to. Whether it was because you could play tiggy with your friends (do kids still play tiggy?), fill your tummy up with mum’s scrumptious sandwich, or take a break from reading your work out in front of the whole class, lunchtime was awesome.
And we’re sure that hasn’t changed one bit. But we as parents can make lunchtime that little more exciting with a brilliant kids Bento box! All these lunch boxes we’re about to share with you have taken inspiration from the traditional Japanese lunch box known as “Bento” which typically holds rice, noodles, meat or fish, with pickled and cooked veggies. They’re still widely used in Japan today due to their storage capacity and convenience.
Before you buy just any Bento box and start packing your kid’s lunches, let us unpack 5 popular ones to help you decide which one you may want to go for!
Oasis Lock-Tight Bento Lunch Box
“I’m starving!” is an all-too-common phrase we as parents hear from our kids after school. But imagine a world where your little bundle of joy was satiated enough to go all the way till dinner-time without being ragingly ravenous! That hypothetical scenario could very well become a reality thanks to the Oasis Lock-Tight Bento Lunch Box.
Oasis offer a purple and a blue version, both featuring a “double-decker” design – 2 compartments that provide parents with ample space to pack all kinds of goodies for their energy-burning munchkins.
You could stack the lower compartment with rolls and wraps, or rice and fish. The top could be for apple slices, cheese and crackers, salami or veggies – really anything you like…or what your kiddies likes we should say!
Although these lunch boxes are made from plastic, you’ll be glad to know that they’re BPA free. The watertight seal and air vent make these Bentos super-secure containers to store food in, which a relief considering how often school bags get bumped, dropped and hurled around! Take a look at the Oasis Lock-Tight Bento Lunch Box here.
Biggest pro: Ample space
Biggest con: No dividers or small compartments
RTM Randy & Travis Machinery Bento Lunch Box
Oasis shouldn’t hold their breath, because there’s another contender looking to take the Bento box throne – and that’s RTM Randy & Travis Machinery. Although this lunch box isn’t a 2-story construction, there are a whopping 6 sections to store a variety of foods. This is another variant of the traditional Japanese Bento – you’ll often find ready-made meals in these multi-section disposable containers at Japanese convenience stores.
Although you may struggle to fit a whole sandwich in one of these, it’s perfect for fun, colourful, tasty snacks like grapes, apricot bites, cheese, carrot and celery sticks, and even some dip in the cylinder section to complement those nutritious veggies.
The upside is you can get creative with your little one and add all sorts of food. The downside is, it may not be enough for a growing child who’ll be sprinting all around the school oval for a good hour during lunch. Nonetheless, we think it would make a fantastic addition to any kid’s school day! Check out the Leak Proof Bento Lunch Box by RTM Randy & Travis Machinery here.
Biggest pro: Multiple sections
Biggest con: Relatively limited space
Ever Eco Stainless Steel Bento Lunch Box
Health-consciousness and environmental-awareness are more pervasive than ever as many of us strive to improve the wellness of both ourselves, our families and the planet we inhabit!
What better way to make a positive impact on the above than by reducing our use of plastic? Ever Eco share that vision, providing Aussies with a 100% plastic-free, stainless steel lunch box. Stainless steel is known to be a non-toxic food storage solution that doesn’t leach any potentially harmful chemicals into our food.
When it comes to storing food that isn’t warm or hot, plastic doesn’t seem to be much of a concern, so don’t freak out! But for those who like to be on the safe side and reduce their carbon footprint in the process, this is a wise choice.
It can also be a wonderful opportunity to teach your kids about why you’ve chosen a stainless steel Bento box! Outside of those points, stainless steel is extremely durable and long-lasting, so rest assured it’ll withstand the unpredictable environment that is school. The Ever Eco Bento Box is available in 1 and 2 compartment varieties, with a generous capacity of 580ml. But keep in mind, you will need something to secure the lid, such as rubber bands.
Biggest pro: Recyclable and durable
Biggest con: Not a leakproof bento box
OmieBox Leak-Proof 3-Compartment Bento Lunch Box
What happens when you put hot foods and cold foods right next to each other in the same container? The cold food becomes not-so-cold right? And it’s safe to assume the hot-food becomes not-so-hot.
But you can throw that seemingly flawless logic away when you’ve got the OmieBox Bento Box.
For the parents out there that want to pack a nice warm lunch for the munchkins along with other foods, this may be a lunchbox to seriously consider! The approx. 200ml ‘warm foods’ section has a built-in Thermos, keeping that soup, stew, curry or spag bowl warm for hours and hours…and hours.
The chilly term-3 school period calls for some warm nourishing foods – your kids can now enjoy hearty home-cooked meals in the classroom! Another cool feature is that the Thermos is removable. So when the warmer weather rolls around and your kiddies aren’t really digging soup on a 35-degree scorcher (fair enough), simply take the Thermos out and use the large section to pack in some lunchtime fuel!
Biggest pro: Can store both cold and hot food
Biggest con: Although the Thermos compartment has an easy twist-off lid, kids will need to be careful when opening. It’s also on the dearer side compared to our other recommendations.
Munchbox Bento Boxes
Crazily creative and colourful. That pretty much sums up Munchbox. From a functional perspective, the brand’s range is similar to the Bento Box by RTM Randy & Travis Machinery, but the aesthetics are unparalleled!
From green to purple, blue, yellow, orange and more, the eclectic range of colours is bound to entice any child who loves a bit of colour in their life (AKA every child). The transparent compartments reveal even more colours that line the bottom of the Bento Box; such as a Italian cafe-style theme with illustrations of various foods.
As the names state, the Maxi 6 has 6 compartments, Midi 5 has 5 and Mini 4 has 4. So you have the freedom of grabbing the size that’ll be the most appropriate for your little one. And trust us when we say, you may want to steer clear of the Mini 4 and go straight for the Maxi 6 if you’ve got a rapidly growing grade 6 gent. But to be completely honest, even that might not be enough. Nevertheless, it’s well worth taking a look at the Munchbox’s vibrant range here!
Biggest pro: The vibrant colours make any food that much more appealing
Biggest con: Limited space
(Bonus!) Little Bento: 32 Irresistible Bento Box Lunches For Kids
So you’ve chosen a Bento box. You love it. Your kids love it. But a Bento box isn’t complete without some yummy, wholesome foods!
Michele Olivier – author of the popular Little Foodie cookbook, has put her ingenious mind at work yet again and blessed us all with over 100 seasonally-inspired Bento recipes that you and your darlings can have a go at. So whether you run out of ideas or just need some inspiration to get started, Little Bento may come in handy!
So with all that being said, we’ll let you go and explore the magnificent world of Bento boxes and grab the one that takes your fancy!